Alternatives there are a plenty, but TV has shrugged off the digital onslaught to maintain its role as the pre-eminent source of news in the UK.
According to the yearly investigation of news consumption across the four main platforms: television, radio, print and online by UK regulator Ofcom, TV is still far the most-used platform for news, with 78% of adults saying they use TV as a source of news. By contrast, two-fifths used newspapers and around a third used radio and the Internet as their primary news source. The same percentage used only one platform for news, with just over a fifth (22%) using just TV, 5% using the Internet only, 3% using only newspapers and 2% using just radio.
Drilling deeper into demographics, Ofcom found that the use of TV only was more prominent among those aged 55+ (26%) and those in the DE socio-economic group (30%) than among 16-24s (16%) or ABs (10%).
Not surprisingly, and in a finding that TV news companies should consider, 12% of those aged 16-24 used only the Internet for news, compared with just a single percentage of those aged 55+. Nearly a third of 16-24s say their most important news source is a website/app – compared with 14% of all UK news users. Those aged 16-24 were also least likely to name a TV channel as their most important source, with less than half (46%) of this age group doing so.
When asked to indicate the single most important news source to them personally, over a third (34%) of news users named BBC One, which had around 2.5 times more mentions than the next source, ITV (13%) and nearly six times as many mentions as Sky News (5%). Ofcom noted that each adult watched an average of around 114 hours of national or international news on television in 2012. The majority of this (62%) was on BBC One or BBC Two and a further 13% on the BBC News channel. The 16-34 demographic consumed only 38 hours of news on television in the same period, compared with 148 hours for those aged over 35. Although the BBC channels were still the most popular for the younger age group, this group was more likely than older viewers to consume news on ITV or Channel 4 (20% v 16%).